Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Ship Of Odysseus

OK. I have missed a connection here and I had better draw attention to it before anyone else does. We are connecting:

"The Old Ships" by James Elroy Flecker;
"Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks" by Poul Anderson;
the Nantucket Trilogy by SM Stirling.

"The Old Ships" refers to Tyre by name and to Odysseus by description;
Tyre is the setting of "Ivory...";
Odysseus is a character in the Nantucket Trilogy.

However, there is more:

"The Old Ships" speculates that one very old ship might have been the ship of Odysseus;
"Ivory..." contains this passage -

"Far and far away, a sail passed by. It could have been driving the ship of Odysseus." (Time Patrol, p. 326) 

A Bright Cool Day

"It was a bright cool day, the air smelling..." (SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity, Chapter Fourteen, p. 302)

Three senses in only part of a sentence!

"...of damp earth and the not-too-distant sea; the grass was green, starred with some winter flowers." (ibid.)

Even better:
two contrasting smells, earth and sea;
at least two colors, green grass and unspecified flowers.

The point, however, is to contrast this natural beauty with human activity:

"It would have been a beautiful country, if war had not come by; plumes of smoke scarred the sky..." (ibid.)

Also there is "...an acrid smell of ash..." (ibid.)

Elsewhere, Poul Anderson's Manse Everard remarks:

"'Earth was a planet fit for gods, unbelievable, before civilization mucked it up.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 100.

It can be fit again and our descendants can be the gods.

Wandering Odysseus

Having time to work on this blog means that sometimes I find myself in places where no one thought there were places. Here is a literary connection that no one can possibly have conceived of:

Poul Anderson, Neil Gaiman and SM Stirling all quote James Elroy Flecker;

Stirling incorporates Odysseus/Ulyyses into an alternative history trilogy;

Flecker incorporates him into a poem -

 who knows - who knows - but in that same
(Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new
- Stern painted brighter blue -)
That talkative, bald-headed seaman came
(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
From Troy's doom-crimson shore,
And with great lies about his wooden horse
Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course.
It was so old a ship - who knows, who knows?
- And yet so beautiful...
-copied from here.

Was Odysseus bald? A graphic novel shows him as long-haired. See image.

And is there an alternative reality with a still wandering Odysseus?

Flecker's poem begins:

I have seen old ships sail like swans asleep
Beyond the village which men still call Tyre,
-copied from (see above link).

Poul Anderson's Manse Everard of the Time Patrol has an important mission in Tyre.

Hiram, Odysseus And Cyrus

Poul Anderson's Manson Everard meets King Hiram of Tyre whereas SM Stirling's Ian Arnstein meets Odysseus: Biblical and Classical references, respectively. There is another difference. Everard meets the Hiram of the timeline that is guarded by the Time Patrol. This is not identical with our timeline because to us Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character. However, the two Hirams should be indistinguishable.

By contrast, Arnstein meets Odysseus in the year 10 AE of a very different timeline. But he is still Odysseus. We are used to encountering different versions of fictional, historical and historical fictional characters in novels, films and TV series. Now we need to add "timelines" to the list after novels etc. Indeed, one Time Patrol installment shows us two actors playing the role of the Biblical/historical Cyrus the Great in otherwise indistinguishable timelines.

An Offering To Indra

A warrior assesses an offering to Indara Thunderer:

the omens were good;
the smoke rose properly to heaven;
the men might have felt better if the offering had been to a more familiar God like Teshub or Ishtar.

Raupasha, who had led the offering, replies:

both Teshub and Indara are ancestral deities;
Indrara may be an older name for Teshub;
both command the storm and thunder;
the kingdom was great when Indara was worshiped.

Her critic accepts this. Thus were religious differences settled in ancient times and in year 10 After the Event. Insistence on a single God, followed by disagreements about His will, generated greater intolerance?

SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity, Chapter Fourteen, p. 287.

Monday, 28 November 2016

A Shrine To Poseidon

"When Theonis endowed remodeling of the shrine and rededication to Poseidon, with a regular priest coming out of the city from time to time to conduct rites, no one objected. They simply identified this deity with theirs, continued using the old name if they wished..."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 102.

Parochial practices; profound processes. People explain phenomena by personifying and/or unifying them. Mere personification generated a multiplicity of gods. Then unification reduced the number of gods as some were identified with others. When the number has been reduced from many to one to none, and thus personification ceases, explanations remain unitary.

Unification is religious, philosophical and scientific. Religious unification is monotheist (there is one divine being) or monist (the one being is not ontologically distinct). Philosophically, one reality underlies many appearances. Scientifically, one general law explains many particular events, more general laws explain less general laws and scientists seek a unified field theory and Theory Of Everything. They no longer personify. Meteorologists and oceanographers do not refer to Poseidon when explaining a storm at sea. If they did, then we would need a practical polytheism.

Some of SM Stirling's characters begin unifying while still personifying. Tarmendtal thinks that the sun and sea gods are universal. He wonders whether the Lady is the same in another continent and just has many names. (On The Oceans Of Eternity, p. 251)

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Sherlock Holmes And The Time Patrol

Time Patrolman Manson Everard works to prevent the British agent Altamont from detecting the Time Patrol military studies group during the build up to World War I. Altamont is an alias for Sherlock Homes. Holmes must be prevented from learning about the Patrol because he is a public figure, his exploits recorded by John Watson. Many of Holmes' cases are reported in the Strand magazine and documentation of even more investigations, preserved in a bank vault, will be studied by posterity. Despite the Patrol's efforts, Watson does refer to one Patrol case, involving a barrow at Addleton.

However, during Holmes' long retirement, we are informed of only two investigations, into a German spy ring and the "Lion's Mane," respectively. Since most of this period of Holmes' life remains unrecorded, it would be possible for Patrol agents to interact with him for much of this time without any fear that their existence might become more widely known. Thus, they might consult or even recruit him, as suggested here.

(I reflect on Holmes and Watson because Ketlan, in hospital, reads about their successors, Poirot and Hastings.)

Megamultiverse

I am tidying up the megamultiverse idea. I wanted to incorporate the road to Emmaus because this story is resonant and evocative. It has been suggested that the Hindu gods can be seen as the man on the road to Emmaus and one of those gods said that the gods are his million faces. See here.

Similarly, St Paul saw an altar to an Unknown God. Of course, Paul drew monotheist conclusions but, in terms of mythological writing and imaginative fiction, we can envisage an anonymous deity or divine Phantom Stranger flitting between pantheons. Norse mythology names Ullr but recounts no stories about him although he appears briefly in Poul Anderson's War Of The Gods. Thus, Ullr might join our list of mysterious characters who move between universes doing important undercover work?

Narrative Points Of View

Writers of prose fiction learned how to control points of view. Povs nearly always flow smoothly in Poul Anderson's works. CS Lewis fine tunes them elaborately in That Hideous Strength. See here.

The opening sentence of Chapter Twelve of SM Stirling's On The Oceans Of Eternity informs us that Tarmendtal enjoys trading, taking tribute and showing the flag. Thus, this is his pov. The second sentence continues that it was a relief to be in open prairie. This is still Tarmendtal's pov.  However, an aside informs us that the prairie is:

"... - what another history would have come to call the Sacramento Valley -..." (p. 250)

This is background information provided by the omniscient narrator from outside Tarmendtal's pov. An exercise for a writer would be to find a way to convey this information without stepping outside the viewpoint character's pov. In Doctor Mirabilis, James Blish resorted to an afterword to inform us that, in one scene, Roger Bacon had had an experience with what we call "ether."

On The Oceans Of Eternity keeps us in suspense by frequently changing its pov.

Last Men

HG Wells' Time Traveler sees the end of life on Earth and returns to the nineteenth century.

Olaf Stapledon's Last Men on Neptune will be killed when the sun expands.

In Poul Anderson's Tau Zero, a human spaceship crew survives into the next universe.

In Anderson's "Flight To Forever," a single time traveler survives the end of the universe and travels around the circle of time back to his start point.

Wells and Stapledon are classic sf writers. Anderson joins their ranks with not one but two works of greater scope.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Trojan Tradition, Past And Future

Greek dramatists addressed Homeric myths, e.g., in Trojan Women.

Olaf Stapledon's "Last Men" narrator compared the Neptunian observers of the Great War with the Olympian observers of the Trojan War.

And that raises a different point. Last Men In London is the companion volume to Stapledon's future history, Last And First Men. We have frequently discussed the sf future historical tradition prominently although not exclusively represented by Wells, Stapledon, Heinlein and Anderson. (I have just learned of a pre-Heinlein American future historian called Neil R. Jones.)

Stapledon's two Last Men volumes were published in 1930 and 1932, respectively. Thus, Last Men In London assumes the perspective of the long future historical narrative that had been recounted in the previous volume yet focuses on (what we call) World War I and the immediate aftermath of that conflict as "the present." Anderson's first future history series begins in the aftermath of a twentieth century World War III whereas his second, and main, future history begins with interplanetary exploration in the mid-twenty first century. Before Anderson but after Stapledon, Heinlein's Future History had begun in 1952. In a later volume, Heinlein interestingly sends a major character of his Future History on a time travel journey to the World War I period and even into combat - but really makes a mess of the whole idea.

Thus, a major role of future histories is to inform us not of the future but of earlier perspectives on the future. It is easy to empathize with the retro-sf of SM Stirling's Lord of Creation novels. In these books, Stirling effectively says, "Let's just write about the Solar System as it used to be imagined."

Homer, Anderson And Stirling II

Achilles chases Hector:

"Such speed made these men, and on foot ran thrice about the walls."
-Homer, The Iliad IN Chapman's Homer (Ware, Hertfordshire, 2002), Book Twenty-Two, line 141.

Achilles drags Hector's dead body:

"She cast her greedy eyes, and saw her Hector slain, and bound
"T' Achilles chariot, manlessly dragg'd to the Grecian fleet." (lines 444-445)

Stirling's account:

"'...he went berserk - slew the enemy commander and dragged his body around... His father called him Ach... Akhil... too much wine, I can't pronounce the damned thing, one of those -eus names.'"
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eleven, pp. 231-232.

Other details confirm that Stirling's berserker is the Homeric hero.

"Once upon a time there was a king who set himself above the foreign merchants...Harry Stenvik and I hung him by the seat of his trousers from his tallest minaret, in sight of all the people, and the name of the Polesotechnic League was great in the land. Then we made inroads on the stock-in-trade of the Solar Spice & Liquors factor..."
-Poul Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), p. 275.

"'There was that Javanese chief who decided he could hassle the wimpy foreign traders...We strung up the hijo de puta by the ass-end of his own loincloth, from the gateway in the palisade 'round his village, left him yelling and screeching to the crowd, and the had quite a party...'"
-Stirling, op. cit., p. 241.

Homer, Anderson And Stirling

Returning once more to Homer, Troy and Chapman in order to move forward yet again to Poul Anderson and SM Stirling:

Virgil's Aeneid is a sequel to Homer's Iliad and Odyysey;
John Keats compared reading Chapman's Homer to discovering a new planet (here);
James Joyce wrote Ulysses, named after the hero of the Odyysey;
Arthur C Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyysey;
Poul And Karen Anderson's Gratillonius liked the Aeneid but not Homer;
Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry refers to Ilion (Troy);
SM Stirling pays respectful homage to Homer and Anderson, as I will shortly show.

Four Senses And Good Food

SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eleven.

The captains of the Nantucket Expeditionary Force gather on one ship:

glasses of sherry;
the ship's bugler;
the Marine band;
sunset, "...a band of crimson fading to deep purple..." (p. 238);
bonfires on the beach;
below decks, silver reflecting lantern flames;
the smell of salt water;
odors of roasted meat;
toasts to the Republic and to fallen comrades;
boiled lobsters;
local salads;
pickled vegetables;
roast suckling pig;
fresh bread;
a Long Island merlot;
chocolate cake;
coffee;
cocoa;
brandy.

Palate, music, colors and odors. The captains deserve all of this after the storm that they have survived and before the enemy that they must fight.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Moving Between Universes

We have been following a line of thought, reasoning from premises provided by Poul Anderson:

Is it conceivable that fictional universes created by Anderson and others coexist in a single megamultiverse?

Could there be a narrative in which a single character moves between all these universes?

Are any characters in existing literature potential candidates for such a role?

The prospects suggested so far are Wells' Silent Man and man in grey, the Phantom Stranger and a young man in Mark's Gospel. Sean Brooks has referred to another mysterious Biblical passage: John 21. 20-23. Might the beloved disciple still be around? Also Moses and Elijah? If so, then where have they been and what have they been doing all this time?

In Anderson's own works, Holger Danske moves between universes and the narrator of the Old Phoenix short stories might take a wrong turn coming out of the Inn? This can happen to travelers who have stayed in that other free house owing allegiance to no realm, Neil Gaiman's Inn of the Worlds' End.

Here are some other characters who appear, influence events, then disappear:

the mendicant who inspired the Buddha;
the Good Samaritan (I know that it is a parable but let us suppose otherwise);
the man on the road to Emmaus - he was not recognized as Jesus and slipped away when he realized that the disciples were latching onto his scriptural interpretations but he played a pivotal role in making them believe that Jesus was risen and Messiah.

There is another mystery about the multiverse. In the Old Phoenix:

"The Taverners are as merciful as their charter, or whatever it is that was once granted them by some power unknown, allows them to be."
-Poul Anderson, "Losers' Night" IN Anderson, All One Universe (New York, 1997), pp. 105-123 AT p. 108.

Elsewhere:

"...there are some powers that no one, not even the Endless, seeks to inquire into too deeply."
-Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: The Wake (New York, 1997), p. 17.

The Endless, seven anthropomorphic personifications of aspects of consciousness, include Destiny and Death yet there are unknown powers beyond them.

An Ultimate Novel

In an ultimate novel, one character would in each chapter travel to a different part of the megamultiverse and somehow intervene in events although without compromising the integrity of each narrative as historical fiction, fantasy, sf etc. Trygve Yamamura, the hero of three detective novels, touches on fantasy in one short story.

Who are the mysterious characters of literature? Why did the Time Traveler's dinner guests include the Silent Man? Who was the man in grey that bought the Crystal Egg? Who was the young man that followed Jesus when he was arrested but ran away naked leaving his linen cloth behind?

DC Comics has a sort of supernatural Lone Ranger called the Phantom Stranger (see here) who appears when needed but disappears as quickly. He is an immortal, a neutral angel, the Wandering Jew, an immortal time traveler...speculative origins. The Stranger, if no one else, would be able to access Poul Anderson's immutable timelines.

Dimensions

The Old Phoenix multiverse has at least five dimensions because each universe has three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension and the universes coexist along a fifth dimension.

The Time Patrol universe also has at least five dimensions because it has a second temporal dimension. We are told that it has 4N dimensions and that N is how many particles there are. In that case, the Old Phoenix multiverse and the Time Patrol universe can coexist in different parts of the 4N-dimensioned megamultiverse. It might be possible to travel between the Time Patrol and Old Phoenix realms along a sixth dimension.

However, we saw that three other universes have only four dimensions each. This implies that they exist outside the 4N-dimensioned framework and that there would be no way to enter them from outside unless someone can imagine a different means of transport? Like magic?

Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Vaster Scenario II

See A Vaster Scenario.

It only remains to imagine a multiversal council of the most advanced beings from multiple timelines, e.g.:

the benign "time wardens" who succeed the warring Wardens and Rangers;
the Danellians/Time Lords;
the Star Masters;
the Chereionites;
gods and saints from the goetic universe;
the Others who traverse cosmoses with T-machines;
the transtemporally communicating Starfarers (also here);
the Vro-Hi and their successors;
the power that appoints the landlord of the Old Phoenix;
the anakro-travelers;
the inorganic intelligences of two remote futures;
the downloaded and re-incarnated human beings of one of those futures (see here).

The sky is not the limit. It is the launching pad.

If Not

Here is a thought that applies to every human being, real or fictional. Doreen Arnstein reflects:

"...if it hadn't been for the Event, you'd never have met Ian, not really - never even have considered marrying him, at least. No David then, or Miriam."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eleven, p. 211.

If there had been no Starkad Affair, then Dominic Flandry would not have met Persis d'Io and they would not have had a son. Any one of us might not have existed, would not have existed if earlier events had gone differently. No overt difference would have been necessary. All it would take would be for a different sperm and egg to meet...

Certain accidents led to my meeting Sheila. Without that meeting, Ketlan would have moved to Lancaster but would not have met our daughter here. Not only is the existence of every living being contingent. There is an indefinite number of potential people whom we would have met and with whom we would have interacted if they had had the good fortune to be born. The idea of divergent timelines and alternative histories comes very close to everyday existence. At every moment, we make choices, however trivial.

A Vaster Scenario

We tried to fit the Time Machine, the Time Patrol and a version of Doctor Who into a single scenario. See here. Let's extend the scenario further. The Time Patrol universe has either a single mutable timeline or several successive timelines - although these are two ways to say the same thing. See here. This is possible because this fictional universe has more than four dimensions, thus at least two temporal dimensions. Theoretically, it has 4N dimensions.

(We could say either that the contents of three dimensional space change, are mutable, or that a succession of 3D spaces with slightly different contents exist along a fourth dimension. These also would be two ways to say the same thing.)

Anderson's The Corridors Of Time, There Will Be Time and The Dancer From Atlantis are each set in a different universe. However, each of these universes has:

only four dimensions;
therefore, only one temporal dimension;
therefore, only a single immutable timeline.

The Old Phoenix multiverse has many parallel timelines. Thus the Anderson multiverse contains at least:

one universe with a single mutable timeline/many successive timelines;
three universes, each with a single immutable timeline;
one multiverse with many parallel timelines.

It must be difficult, although not perhaps impossible, to enter the immutable timelines.

In my suggested scenario, the Time Lords are the Danellians and the Morlocks-Eloi timeline is a quantum fluctuation within the Time Patrol timeline(s).

Civilization Clusters In The Technic History?

For "civilization clusters" in Poul Anderson's After Doomsday, see here and here.

Also:

The premises of After Doomsday are that:

the galaxy is full of intelligent races;
“superlight” travel is possible.


It follows that:

superlight is discovered somewhere some time, once or more than once;
explorers encounter many races, some of whom are willing and able to acquire superlight from them;
superlight travel spreads like dandelion seeds;
space traveling races deal with those with whom they can converse and ignore or bypass others;
they can deal regularly only with those in their immediate vicinity;
therefore, the galaxy is full of “civilization-clusters,” between which there is no regular contact;
within a cluster, space travellers learn a common language and one such language is used in several nearby clusters;
even within a cluster, every planet is economically self-sufficient so trade is in knowledge and luxury items;

 the civilized galaxy is so vast that there cannot be a single Empire or Federation and no one knows the history or current macro-status of the entire galaxy;
militaristic imperialism between nearby worlds is possible and, this being a work by Anderson, it does occur in our cluster – marine warriors on one planet and nomadic conquerors on another maintain their societies by expanding into space, engage in conflict with each other and involve other races in the hostilities.

-copied from here.

In the Imperial period of Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, the characters continually remind themselves, and thus also us, that they inhabit only one poorly explored sphere of space at one end of a single spiral arm of a single galaxy. In the Commonalty period, there are human civilizations in several spiral arms although the action of the only story set in this period is confined to a single region of space at the galactic periphery.

Might there be similar groups of interacting civilizations elsewhere in this galaxy or in neighboring galaxies? Several independent Histories could be written. Some of Anderson's short stories are set on extra-solar planets. Could some of these be construed as occurring elsewhere in the Technic History universe?

The Ocean

"Seen from the surface the swell was like the surge of a giant's muscle beneath them, infinite power enclosed in a silk-smooth skin, dangerous and beautiful...she could feel the living heave of the ocean..."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Ten, p. 205.

The ocean sustains life and seems to be alive, like a giant - or a god. That power abides even in a technological future:

"...the Pacific Ocean. Sheening and billowing under a full Luna, those waters gave a sense of ancient forces still within this planet...still biding their time."
-Poul Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (Riverdale, NY, 2012), p. 50.

Flandry's successors will probably invoke the gods when civilization falls.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Grandiose Titles

The less that is known about the universe, the greater the claims that are made about it. Let us compare the titles of three men who respectively rule:

parts of the Earth's surface;
the Solar System;
an interstellar empire.

"King Kashtiliash - Great King of Babylon, King of the Four Quarters of the Earth, King of the Universe, viceregent of the great god Marduk, overlord of Assyria by right of conquest and of Elam by treaty of vassalage, and ally of the Republic of Nantucket..."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Six, p. 101.

" - Willem, Prince of Orange, Duke of Nassau, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Knight Commander of the Holy Roman Empire, Admiral General of the Imperial Forces, Adviser to the Martian Nests, Protector of the Poor, and, by the Grace of God, King of the Lowlands and Emperor of the Planets and the Spaces Between."
-Robert Heinlein, Double Star (New York, 1957), Chapter 8, p. 91.

Here is another reference to the Roman Empire or rather to its "Holy" successor. Willem is a Knight Commander of a defunct Empire but also a current Emperor. We are not told his surname.

"His Imperial Majesty, High Emperor Georgios Manuel Krishna Murasaki, of the Wang dynasty the fourth, Supreme Guardian of the Pax, Grand Director of the Stellar Council, Commander-in-chief, Final Arbiter..."
-Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (Riverdale, NY, 2010), p. 5.

A High Emperor must outrank mere Emperors? Georgios' middle names are those of the Founder and of an Indian deity but there is no reference to any god or to divine favor among his titles. Also, someone who is all too aware that he rules only one part of one spiral arm of a single galaxy makes no claim to rule the Universe. Georgios speaks Anglic but do his titles include the Latin word, "Pax"?

Later, the same titles are repeated for Hans Friedrich Molitor except that he is of his dynasty the first - and much history revolves around that single fact.

Kashtiliash represents Marduk on Earth.
Willem advises Martian nests.
Hans appoints a Duke of Mars.

Classical-Biblical Syntheses

Geoffrey of Monmouth is a fictional historian and also a contributor to the literary tradition about Troy because Geoffrey's History does for the British what Virgil's Aeneid did for the Romans - tells them that they are descended from the Trojans!

Biblical-Classical synthesis began when Christ displaced the Olympians to become the single god of the Roman state and the Bishop of Rome became the Pontifex Maximus, the chief priest of the Roman state religion. Dante has Virgil in the Inferno and both Classical and Biblical scenes depicted in Purgatory. The first science fiction novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, is sub-titled The Modern Prometheus (Classical) and begins with a quotation from Paradise Lost (Biblical).

In Poul Anderson's Technic History, Manuel Argos declares that his Terran Empire, like the Roman Empire, will admit aliens to citizenship. Later, one of those aliens converts to Jerusalem Catholicism and seeks evidence for a Universal Incarnation. Thus, Classical and Biblical traditions transcend the Solar System and humanity.

In SM Stirling's Nantucket Trilogy, Alban converts to Christianity fight at Troy!

Fictional Histories And Poul Anderson

We all know that Robert Heinlein wrote the Future History and that some other American sf writers have followed this model. Thus, there are "future histories," including "the Future History," which was collected as The Past Through Tomorrow.

Future histories are one kind of fictional history. Others include:

JRR Tolkien's History of Middle Earth;
CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia;
Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain.

Not unrelated to the works of Tolkien, a Catholic, and Lewis, an Anglican, is the Bible, a multi-generational narrative comprising every kind of literature including:

myths;
genealogies;
theologically interpreted histories;
historical fictions (Ruth, Job and Jonah).

Also relevant is John Milton's theological trilogy:

Paradise Lost;
Paradise Regained;
Samson Agonistes.

With the passage of time, a future history becomes an alternative history. Also, an alternative historical series can become a fictional history. Thus, SM Stirling presents:

three novels about the gradual conquest of Earth by the Draka;
one novel about interstellar and inter-cosmic conflicts involving the Draka -

and:

a trilogy about Nantucket translated to an alternative timeline;
a series about the Earth that Nantucket left behind.

Of the future history series that I have read, I think that Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization is the most substantial and comprehensive. We should always remember the original model:

Heinlein's Future History
I A collection about technological advances, eventually including interplanetary travel.
II A collection about the colonization and exploitation of the Solar System.
III A novel about the revolutionary overthrow of an American theocracy and two stories about different aspects of the post-revolutionary society, including the resumption of space travel.
IV A novel about a crisis in the post-revolutionary society.
V Two stories about a lost interstellar ship mentioned in Vol IV.

Some other future histories can be summarized briefly:

Anderson's Psychotechnic History
UN
Solar Union
Stellar Union
Galactic civilization (query)

Anderson's Technic History
interplanetary and interstellar exploration
Solar Commonwealth and Polesotechnic League
Time of Troubles
Terran Empire
Long Night
civilizations in several spiral arms
a Galactic civilization

Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium Future History
the CoDominuim
the First and Second Empire of Man

James Blish's Cities In Flight
a novel about the discoveries necessary for interstellar travel
two volumes about Okie civilization
a novel about the post-Okie universe

Larry Niven's Known Space Future History
Too complicated to summarize briefly?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Oceans And Gods

SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Ten.

"Reefs growling in the surf like hidden tiger-fangs, sheer cliffs and giant waves breaking on them like the hammer of Ogun, until mountains trembled..." (p. 179)

Who is Ogun? Nowadays, we can instantly google.

Nantucket is an island in two oceans, one spatial, the other temporal or eternal. These literal and metaphorical oceans are never far apart in the text. Marian Alston is a sea traveler who has also been a time traveler. Poul Anderson links seafarers, spacefarers and timefarers near the end of "Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks."

Those who travel into the prehistoric past enter a period when gods were seen as real:

"'...we shall have weapons of great power - like the Maruts of Indara Thunderer- or the sons of Teshub...Are your hands skilled to war, your hearts full of Agni's fire?'" (p. 184)

And, when the wanderer Denesh (Keith Denison) departs the camp of the Bakhri, King Thuliash says:

"'...I ask Indra the Thunderer that he bid his warrior Maruts watch over you for as far their range may reach...'"
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 278.

If human beings proliferate through many timelines, then so will their gods. In fact, combining once again the themes of ocean and gods, Alston thinks:

"...the Lord Jesus pity any fisherman out tonight in a Bronze Age coracle..." (On The Oceans..., p. 179)

Jesus has not been born, will not be born in this timeline, but we carry our gods within us.

Troy And Shakespeare

There are two previous posts entitled "Troy." See here and here.

Since I was listing a literary tradition referring to Troy, how could I have omitted Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida? Set during the siege of Troy, this play features Paris and Ulysses who appear in SM Stirling's Nantucket Trilogy as Alaksandrus and Odikweos, respectively. The play also features Aeneas, a character in Homer's Iliad and the hero of Virgil's Aeneid, who mythologically links Troy to Rome and thus, indirectly, to the historical successors of Rome.

For another Shakespearean connection, the Greek hero, Theseus, appears as the Duke of Athens in A Midsummer Night's Dream and as a very different character in Poul Anderson's The Dancer From Atlantis. As we know, Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest is a sequel to A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest and is set in a timeline where Shakespeare was the Great Historian so that Hamlet, Lear etc were historical characters. Also, Anderson's The Last Viking Trilogy refers to the historical Macbeth.

Our literary tradition of Troy comprises, at least:

Homer
Virgil
Ovid
Shakespeare
CS Lewis
SM Stirling

Troy

European literature begins with Homer and Homer wrote about Troy. According to CS Lewis:

Homer wrote Primary Epic, about events during the Heroic Age;

Virgil wrote Secondary Epic, about a historical turning point, the founding of Rome;

Milton wrote an ultimate epic about cosmic history from before the Creation until after the Judgment.

But I have also read that the Trojan War was the end of the Heroic Age. Aeneas escaped from Troy and fled to Italy where his descendant, Romulus, founded Rome. The Roman Empire was a  model for Poul Anderson's Terran Empire whereas SM Stirling's characters are re-fighting the Trojan War with rifles and mortars - so here we have an illustrious literary lineage:

Homer
Virgil
Milton
Anderson
Stirling -

- and there were a few other guys in between!

Addendum: CS Lewis is not only a commentator on this tradition but also a contributor to it. His "After Ten Years," in the posthumous collection, The Dark Tower and other stories, is a fragment of an unfinished novel about the aftermath of the Trojan War. It has a brilliant opening passage which I should not spoiler. Who is Yellowhead? Where are he and his companions?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Giernas Grins

The First Trans-Continental Expedition has found a hostile settlement on the far side of the North American continent and plans to do something about it:

"Giernas started to nod, then froze. A thought struck him, like the sun rising early over the low distant line of the Sierras to the east. Slowly, he began to grin."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Nine, p. 165.

Here ends the chapter. We notice that:

starting to perform a physical action, then freezing, are familiar signs of a moment of realization;

we recognize the sign before we are told that a thought struck Giernas;

we appreciate the colorful comparison of the thought's arrival with the rising sun;

we know that we will not be told what he thought until we see him putting it into effect;

he had nodded when told that the enemy would soon collect their tribute and that some local tribes would serve them in order to receive vaccination - this should give us some clues as to what Giernas thought, but it won't.

All will become clear when the author decides to tell us. Meanwhile, it is good to know that Giernas is confident of turning the tables on a formidable enemy. Stirling writes scarier villains than anyone else.

Reading And Rereading

I have allowed my first ever reading of SM Stirling's On The Oceans Of Eternity to be interrupted by rereading a bunch of Poul Anderson stuff. Nothing particularly wrong with that. I hope that the blog remains fresh because I am always taking a fresh approach to whichever work I am currently rereading, not plodding systematically through each series in turn. We can dip in and out of Anderson's Technic History without rereading it from "The Saturn Game" to "Starfog." (And who would have guessed that those two stories were the first and forty third installments of a single series?)

However, I am finding it hard to pick up one or two of the narrative threads. What had Raupasha done to annoy Kashtiliash? I have flicked back through the text but not found it yet. Meanwhile, Brigadier Kenneth Hollard's audience with Kashtiliash demonstrate how allies should negotiate. There are common interests and mutual respect but also, crucially, strength on both sides. Hollard is able, indeed obliged, to tell Kashtiliash that he may exile but must not kill Raupasha because she is under the protection of the Republic.

By contrast, personal relationships between William Walker's followers are, as we expect, dreadful. Odikweos (Odysseus) swears by the Kindly Ones (another Neil Gaiman connection) that he will kill Alice Hong if he can. Let me guess now that that is how she is going to die...

Had the Furies been renamed the Kindly Ones that far back?

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Church And State

Poul Anderson's The Shield Of Time, Part Six, "Amazement of the World":

in the alpha timeline, the church wins the medieval church-state conflict;

in the beta timeline, the state wins;

in the Danellian timeline, neither wins.

SM Stirling's On The Oceans Of Eternity:

in Nantucket, Christians have united in one Ecumenical Church which has converted some Albans and Aryans;

in Babylon, if the King ignores the priesthood's selective omen-reading, then nobles and peasants expect disaster, a self-fulfilling prophecy;

in Great Achaea, priests, no longer men of rank serving only the God but full-time specialists paid by the Throne, can be relied on to get the omens right...

Palatial Privacy, Lack Of

The King and Queen of Babylon:

"They were dining in one of the smaller chambers in the King's private rooms - or as private as anything could be, in this ant farm of a palace."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eight, p. 145.

In this timeline, the Queen is a time traveler.

Cyrus the Great/Keith Denison:

"'Sometimes I've thought that was the hardest thing to take about this situation, never having a minute to myself. The best I can do is throw everybody out of the room I'm in; but they stick around just beyond the door, under the windows, guarding, listening. I hope their dear loyal souls fry.'
"'Privacy hasn't been invented yet either,' Everard reminded him. 'And VIPs like you never did have much, in all history.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Time Patrol (New York, 1991), p. 50.

In this timeline, Cyrus is a time traveler.

Even though Babylonian royalty lack privacy, they enjoy their meal and surroundings. Reclining on couches, cushioned in Moroccan-like leather, they eat, with bronze and gold forks, from a low table with ivory lion's paw feet and an ebony top inlaid with lapis, ivory and semiprecious stones:

roast chicken;
beef and lentils with apricots;
skewered grilled lamb;
salads;
breads;
pastries;
spiced steamed vegetables.

The meal is accompanied by gentle music, vivid tapestries, kerosene lamps, cedarwood and incense. All five senses are addressed.

Pehistoric Progress

When Babylon is allied with the Nantucket time travelers, prisoners are not sold but settled on land watered by canals cut by steam-dredges, where they are mixed with natives and supervised by newly appointed tenant-farmers. More camels are bought and bred and men trained to handle them because they carry bigger loads at lower costs than donkeys.

Society is complex and interconnected. Systematic improvements, as opposed to random alterations, in ancient society would require the application of knowledge and technology, not just the assassination of a single ruler or the reversal of the outcome of a single battle. SM Stirling shows us this process occurring. His Nantucketers and their allies follow the lead of Martin Padway, who prevents the Dark Ages in L Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall, and their entire project would be prohibited by Poul Anderson's Time Patrol if that organization had existed in this timeline.

Anderson wrote novels in which time travelers cannot change the past and a series in which they are prevented from changing the past but no work (?) in which anyone succeeds in changing the past - except the Neldorians whose alteration is undone by Time Patrollers. There is no Anderson work in which the good guys change the past and it stays changed.

Time Travel

I read a Classics Illustrated comic strip adaptation of The Time Machine sometime between 1956 and 1960 and have been fascinated by time travel ever since. I remember thinking that, if a time traveler from 1960 spent half an hour in 2060, then "meanwhile" his acquaintances in 1960 would be awaiting his return. It has taken a lifetime to think through the implications of time travel.

Fortunately, HG Wells has illustrious successors. Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series and SM Stirling's Nantucket Trilogy are very dissimilar treatments but have intriguing parallels as the authors dramatize the consequences of their premises, a police force to prevent temporal changes and an island moved back in time. It is extremely effective when the title of a volume echoes a single phrase in its text. See On The Oceans Of Eternity, Chapter Eight, p. 134.

How Easy Is It To Understand Time Travel?

Keith Denison:

"He had accepted the fact of time travel more readily than most. His mind was supple and, after all, he was an archaeologist."
-Poul Anderson, "Brave To Be A King" IN Anderson, The Time Patrol (New York, 1991), pp. 34-68 AT p. 37.

Pummairam:

"'...hardly anybody in this age of the world is able to imagine travel through time and the marvels of tomorrow. It is no use to tell them, they merely get bewildered and frightened... Maybe I am different because I was always on my own, never cast into a mold and let harden... Then I praise the gods, or whatever they were, that kicked me into such a life.'"
-Anderson, "Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks" IN The Time Patrol, pp. 141-205 AT p. 203.

Kashtiliash, King of Babylon:

"He had grasped whence the Nantukhtar really came, their island adrift on the oceans of eternity. Few others in this age could, he thought, even shrewd men, learned man. The Nantukhtar hadn't made any particular secret of it, but most dismissed the thought with a shudder as merely more of the eldritch air of magic that surrounded the strangers.
"But I am lucky in that my mind is supple. Perhaps because I am young yet. It is a mighty thing, a fate laid on us all by the great Gods..."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eight, p. 134.

Denison's mind is supple and he is an archaeologist;
Pum is young, was never cast into a mold and he praises the gods;
Kashtiliash's mind is supple, perhaps because he is young, and he invokes the Gods.

The cases are similar.

Would some people simply be unable to understand any attempt to explain time travel?

"'As for the Babylonians, time travel just wasn't in their world-picture. We had to give them a battle-of-the-gods routine.'"
-Anderson, "Time Patrol" IN The Time Patrol, pp. 1-33 AT p. 9.

However, Kastiliash is a Babylonian with a young and supple mind.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Barbarians And Civilization

In ancient times on Earth, barbarians encroached on civilization and remained a constant threat beyond its borders. Here is a striking image:

"Aiming a blow at the sand thieves was like driving a chariot wheel through a mud puddle: the contents spattered and flew apart in tiny globules, then ran together and all was unchanged. So the nomads were, striking at defenseless peasant hamlets or the donkey-caravans of merchants, then fading back into the endless wastes of the west."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eight, p. 133.

However, sometimes barbarians encroached so far into civilization that they became civilized:

"The chronicles said the Amorites had come likewise from the western deserts long ago, and ended by ruling all the Land - Hammurabi was of that blood. His own ancestors had been herdsmen from the other quarter, in the mountains to the eastward." (ibid.)

Poul Anderson imagines exactly the same kind of encroachments and invasions but on an interstellar scale. See here. When Flandry, requesting a projection of a rendezvousing craft, sees a lean shape rushing forward not of Imperial manufacture but armed as well as his own ship, he thinks:

"Barbarians..."
-Poul Anderson, The Rebel Worlds (London, 1973), Chapter VII, p. 66.

The blurb on the back cover of this edition reads:

"The barbarians in their long ships waiting at the edge of the Galaxy...

"...waited for the ancient Terran Empire to fall..."

- and, in other works, Anderson wrote about Vikings in their long ships. Historical fiction and science fiction can be complementary.

A Prayer

All my prayers are addressed "To Whom it may concern." I offer this prayer: "Thank you that we exist and that some of us can live well for a while." Does that sound Andersonian? Can we say more? I hope that, gods or no gods, we will be able to bring it about that everyone lives well all the time. However, I am currently assessing where we are at right now.

I am able to:

wake in the morning;
walk downstairs;
eat breakfast;
drink coffee;
read Poul Anderson, SM Stirling and others;
blog;
walk into town;
shop in a supermarket;
attend the Green Party Christmas Fair in the historic Friends' Meeting House (see images) beside the railway station below the ancient Castle and Priory Church overlooking the river (it sounds like the capital city of a Poul Anderson colony planet);
converse with friends at the Fair and online.

This is wealth beyond measure, most of it unearned by me. I am grateful to the ancestors who have build this society and also to any divine beings Who may have been involved.

Addendum: As Anderson's and Stirling's ancient Greek characters say, "Rejoice!"

A Babylonian Street Scene

A robed merchant riding his donkey leads a train of loaded donkeys, guarded by cudgel-wielding toughs, that fills the narrow, twisting street from side to side. The crowd pushes, chaffers and shouts. There is "...a snatch of nasal twanging song..." (On The Oceans Of Eternity, p. 118). A storyteller reciting the deeds of Gilgamesh is paid in metal, beads or dried fruit. A public writer with a stylus and damp clay shouts his skill. A deformed beggar whines for alms. Tiny shops spill into the street and stretch back into gloom. A jeweler works in gold leaf and carnelian. Figurines mark a chapel. Laborers carry heavy burdens. A top-knotted foreign slave asks directions. A drunk reels. Priests chant. Housewives carry shopping or water jugs on their heads. There are no street signs or house numbers.

"An eeriness went beneath everything..." (p. 119)

"To Everard the scene was eerily half-familiar."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 24.

Everard heard cries for alms in ancient Persia. Flandry recounted the deeds of van Rijn when he went undercover as a storyteller.

Unsanitary Conditions And A Long List

In "A Dusk Of Idols," an Earth ship stops at the planet Chandala where the ruling class uses epidemics to control the population. The ship's surgeon and a passenger who is a famous society doctor discuss the situation on Chandala and I could not help thinking that Dr McCoy, from the Enterprise, would have belonged here but the author, of "A Dusk Of Idols," pointed out that McCoy did not even exist in his creator's mind yet when the story was written.
-copied from here.

I was reminded of this James Blish story when reading SM Stirling's account of the unsanitary conditions in ancient Babylon:

"The street was narrow... An irregular trickle of sewage ran down the middle..." (On The Oceans Of Eternity, pp. 116-117)

Blish imagined a society in which such conditions exist not through ignorance but as a deliberate policy of population control.

We compare Stirling with Poul Anderson because Stirling has perfected alternative histories which were one of Anderson's many sf sub-genres. For comparisons of Blish with Anderson, see:

Flandry And Blish
Two Masters Of All The Genres
Event Police
The Other Blog About A Single SF Writer
Anderson And Blish
Past And Future
Anderson-Blish Interaction
Immortality
Some More Comparisons
Between Galaxies
Comparisons With James Blish
Aliens And Gods II
Why Empires III
Origins Of Science
Everything Is Connected
Boxed Sets
Update
Survival
Two Unaging Men
Connections
Cadet Loftus And Ensign Flandry
Blogs
Recruitment
Connections
The Devil Speaks II
Gods Dead Or Withdrawn?
Galactic SF II
Judgment And Doomsday II
Thermonuclear Warfare And James Blish

- or just search the blog for "James Blish" because this list is becoming too long.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Accumulated Experience

Prehistoric people lacked "...the accumulated experience and examples and recorded thought of ..."

Sun Tzu
Caesar Augustus
Han Fei-Tze and the Legalists
Frederick II
Machiavelli
Elizabeth I
Maurice of Nassua
Shaka Senzagakhoa of the Zulu
Timur-i-Leng
Catherine the Great
Napoleon
Marx
Mao
Bismarck
Nguyen Giap
Lenin...

-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), p. 111.

That is a lot of accumulated experience and we have been affected by them all even if we have never heard of some of them. And Frederick II is a character in an alternative timeline in Poul Anderson's The Shield Of Time.

Moments Of Realization In 13,211 BC And 11 AE

"...I'll hop elsewhere as well as elsewhen, way away to the seashore or out on the steppe or -
"Or.
"She gasped."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 238.

This is a moment of realization. Wanda can travel into the recent past. Thus, she can subtly help her friends without breaking the Time Patrol law against changing the course of events. It is already known that the invaders will not settle but will continue to migrate south. Thus, Wanda can cause that continued migration without having to change anything. She has just realized how she will be able do this. But her scheme will not be explained to the readers until we see her doing it.

"A suspicion moved below the surface of his mind. No. Not here."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Five, p. 98.

Yes, here. Giernas is beginning to realize that a Native American village observed through binoculars is quiet and still because its inhabitants have been killed by smallpox. We gradually realize what is happening as Giernas leaves his companions at a safe distance, enters the village accompanied only by his dog, finds only dead bodies, then methodically burns everything, including his own clothes. Where has the smallpox come from?

These are two moments of realization. As it happens, each of these pov characters is a time traveler to prehistoric North America but how different the narratives are and many such narratives can potentially be generated from the same premises of time travel and alternative timelines.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Endangered Species

"He'd removed his polar bear rug. Too many visitors had been reproaching him for it. He couldn't explain to them that it was from tenth-century Greenland, when, far from polar bears being an endangered species, things were oftenest the other way around."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 177.

"The humpbacked bear walked into the open shade of the great trees with a shambling arrogance...
"Dane Sweet ought to see this, [Giernas] thought. Hell, we're the endangered species, hereabouts."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Five, p. 94.

Who is Dane Sweet? Reproaches to Everard reflect social changes during his lifetime. A Time Patrolman will know of these in advance and adapt accordingly. His job is to conserve the course of history, not an earlier period. He is a conservative but in four dimensions.

Menaced by grizzlies in the American West, I would certainly approve of shooting and eating them. I suppose that, by killing bears, David Crockett accomplished three worthy ends. He both protected and fed his family and cleared the frontier for later settlers.

The First Time

"Ranger Peter Giernas of the First Trans-Continental Expedition ..."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), p. 80 -

- reflects:

"The clear thock of steel in wood echoed across the meadow...for the first time ever, he thought with an edge of wonder that never quite faded." (p. 84)

The First Expedition and the first sound of steel in this part of North America - in this timeline. The phrase, "the first time," gains a new significance in a multiple timelines scenario. There are many first times.

Who was first on the Moon?

Cavor and Bedford;
Armstrong and Aldrin;
Valeria Matuchek.

Armstrong and Aldrin were first - in Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium future history.

What was the name of the pilot or astrogator in "The Man Who Sold The Moon"? Harriman was the title character and financier.

There had been a succession of landers on the Moon in CS Lewis' "Forms Of Things Unknown." Jenkin is about the fifth.

In Larry Niven's Wrong Way Street, an astronaut on the Moon finds an alien time machine - and thus becomes the First Man on the Moon.

In Poul Anderson's "The Light," American explorers of the Moon learn that Leonardo da Vinci had been there before them - whereas, in Robert Heinlein's The Door Into Summer, da Vinci was Leonard Vincent, Time Traveler. I often say that Anderson gives the impression of exploring every option but here he does so with the illustrious assistance of Robert Heinlein.

Three Senses In Tartessos

OK. Here are three senses one after the other:

"A leafless forest of mast and spar and rigging lifted against the bright stars and crescent moon, and that light and the lanterns atop the wall reflected from the rippling waters. A creak and groan of timber sounded through the night, wind in the tracework of rigging, call of a watchman, the sound of waves slapping like wet hands at the planking of hulls. There was a thick smell of the sea, of brackish water and tar, bilges and cargoes."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Night (New York, 2000), Chapter Four, p. 74.

The sounds are meticulously listed. Waves like wet hands! What were the cargoes?

On The Oceans Of Eternity

(All reality and fiction travels across the Oceans of Eternity.)

I refer again to the mystery of the disappearing posts. To be more precise, posts do not disappear from the blog but post titles disappear from the blog archive. The earliest title listed for October 2016 is dated 17 October (see here). However, a search for On The Oceans Of Eternity reveals earlier posts for that month. See here.

The present plan is to continue reading and discussing On The Oceans Of Eternity. To do this, it is helpful to be able to refer to earlier posts that mention this novel.

Every work of fiction, even the most realistic, is set in a parallel universe or alternative timeline to the extent that its characters and events do not exist in our timeline. On the other hand, even the most fantastic fiction "fantastically reflects" the real world in which it was created. Poul Anderson and SM Stirling make us feel that their alternative timelines are as real as ours.

Contrasts

All fiction reflects reality but in different ways. We enjoy works of fiction set in heroic pasts and fantastic futures. On this blog, we have discussed, e.g.:

Poul Anderson's heroic fantasies and future histories;
SM Stirling's Nantucket Trilogy set in the past of an alternative timeline;
the Smallville TV series set in a superhero universe;
James Bond novels which reflect their period but through the lens of "...high-flown and romanticized caricatures..." (see here).

Because the focus of the blog remains Poul Anderson, the other works are usually discussed by comparing or contrasting them with appropriate stories or novels by Anderson. This is easy to do because Anderson's range is so vast.

By contrast, another kind of drama reflects reality more directly. Ken Loach directs films that sound like documentaries. The dialogue seems to have been tape recorded rather than enacted from a script. This is neither heroic past nor fantastic future but our present. Having just seen I, Daniel Blake, I mention Loach and his films purely for contrast and will return to more familiar themes in the next post.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Diversity

Arinnian defends the defensive war recently waged by Avalon:

"'...our society or culture or what you want to name it, has a life and a right of its own.
"'...if communities didn't resist encroachments, they'd soon be swallowed by the biggest and greediest. Wouldn't they? In the end, dead sameness. No challenges, no inspirations from somebody else's way. What service is it to life if we let that happen?
"'And, you know, enmities needn't be eternal.'" (Rise Of The Terran Empire, p. 661)

Three Observations
(i) We can organize the production and distribution of wealth in such a way that everyone has access to far more than they need and thus that "greed" ceases to motivate anyone. (But that is not the situation at the time of the border dispute between Terra and Ythri.)

(ii) In how many works does Poul Anderson rightly dramatize the point that sameness is bad and therefore diversity is good?

(iii) He mentions Lepanto but there are many other historical examples of former enemies becoming allies and friends. See here.

The Distant Future Of The Technic History

Governor Saracoglu wonders whether the biracial culture being created on Avalon might foreshadow the distant future:

"'...the source of their resistance - like an alloy or a two-phase material, many times stronger than either part that went into it. We've a galaxy, a cosmos to fill..." (Rise Of The Terran Empire, p. 657)

They have a galaxy to fill and a cosmos to spread into, never to fill.

Potential Bi- Or Multiracial Cultures
Ythrians and human beings on Avalon.
Human beings and Merseians on Dennitza.
Two races on Talwin.
Human beings and the two Starkadian species on Imhotep.
Human beings, Cynthians and Donarrians on Daedalus.
Human beings and Didonians in the Virgilian System.

We need a culminating novel set in a mutliracial galactic culture in the remote future.